Rep. Mike Pompeo Says NSA's Metadata Program Is A Result Of The Way 'Government Is Supposed To Operate'
from the oh,-good,-let's-hear-some-more-about-this-famous-'oversight' dept
Rep. Mike Pompeo who, along with Rep. Richard Nugent, whipped up the “red herring” amendment designed to draw support away from Rep. Justin Amash’s more direct NSA-defunding effort, took to the mic to do a bit of orating before his amendment sailed through on a 409-12 vote.
Pompeo’s amendment did little more than restate what the NSA already does while giving the appearance some sort of funding might be on the line. His amendment dealt with Section 702, which already forbids the targeting of Americans, something that hadn’t been nearly as controversial as the NSA’s “anything goes” interpretation of Section 215, which Amash’s amendment targeted.
So, on his way to the hollowest of victories (status quo duly reinforced!), Pompeo stepped up to the podium to assure America that, thanks to his amendment, all would soon be right in the world.
“I want to make clear to everyone that contrary to the suggestions of some, the NSA has not been acting outside the scope of its authorities,” he said on the House floor. “The metadata program is carefully designed with program layers of oversight by all three branches of government. This is precisely the way our government ought to operate: with input from Article I and Article 2 and Article III of the United States Constitution.”
“Some” should be “many” and saying “acting outside the scope of its authorities” makes the assumption there’s some sort of credible authority presiding over its actions. A “carefully designed” program doesn’t tend to raise more questions than it answers when deployed. And as for Pompeo’s “oversight” and reference to the system of checks and balances? Both are a complete, horrific joke at this point.
But there’s more.
“It’s of course our duty to ensure that the NSA stays within its legal bounds here in Congress and this amendment makes it perfectly clear for everyone to know and understand,” Pompeo said.
If it’s your duty, you damn suck at it. “Staying within the legal bounds” means following existing, normal interpretations of the law, not a constant redrawing of boundaries and redefinitions of words like “relevant.” And, of course your amendment “makes it perfectly clear for everyone” — it hardly bothered “amending” anything at all.
“We shouldn’t mislead the American people into thinking that the NSA has been acting illegally. There is perhaps no program in the United States government that is as carefully monitored in overseeing as the programs this amendment attempts to clarify.”
Who’s “we,” Rep. Pompeo? Is that a bit of a slam against legislators who are concerned about the reach of the NSA’s surveillance? And “mislead?” No one’s “misleading” anyone about the supposed legality of these programs. Unfortunately for Americans (and many other nationalities), the secret court system and secret interpretations of secret laws have made sure that all of this stuff, that would normally raise huge, red flags about violating the rights of American citizens, IS ALL VERY LEGAL.
That’s the problem. It shouldn’t be. But it is.
And to hell with your “carefully monitored” and “oversight.” Those terms are as meaningless as the NSA’s definition of “relevant.” There are plenty of legislators still reeling from these disclosures and the few who were privy to all the details have either been giving Americans the “there, there, nothing to be concerned about” speech (Dianne Feinstein and others) or the “because we’ll be slaughtered by terrorists without it” speech (Mike Rogers and others). Even fewer have been saying “Americans are going to be very shocked at the breadth of these programs” (Ron Wyden and a couple of others).
To say this has been “carefully monitored” gives it the appearance that someone’s been pushing back at the overreach with some sort of success. This obviously isn’t true and I’d thank you and all the other NSA cheerleaders to stop pretending these programs have ever been subject to true oversight, much less any meaningful checks and balances.